Humanist Marriage

A religious couple in British Columbia can choose whether to have a representative of their worldview perform their ceremony or a civil marriage commissioner. Despite being the least religious province in Canada, non-religious couples don't have that choice. The Government of BC does not recognize Humanist marriage officiants, meaning the only option for a non-religious couple is to find a government marriage commissioner.

We call on the Government of BC to allow Humanists and non-religious couples to choose to have their wedding conducted by a Humanist Officiant.

The law

To get married in BC, you must have either a civil or religious ceremony.

Civil ceremonies are performed by marriage commissioners. But there are only a finite number of positions for BC Marriage Commissioners and the Government does not issue temporary licenses to perform weddings. Civil weddings must also include specific lines in the ceremony.

Recognized religious organizations are able to appoint their own officiants who can perform marriages. Religious representatives do not have to include any specific lines.

Other jurisdictions

Many countries, some US states, and even other provinces in Canada recognize Humanist Officiants.

Humanists are recognized as clergy in Ontario and Humanist Canada and the Ontario Humanist Society are able to authorize Humanist Officiants to perform ceremonies in that province.

In Scotland, since 2005, the Humanist Society of Scotland has been able to perform weddings. Humanists weddings in Scotland are increasingly popular and outnumber Catholic and Church of Scotland weddings.

Read The Case for Humanist Marriage In BC to learn more.

Take action: Sign our petition | Donate

Latest news


Over 500 for Humanist Marriage

Four weeks ago we launched our petition calling for the Government of BC to give Humanists equal standing with the many religious groups that are able to perform marriages in the province. Since then, over 500 people joined our call! On Thursday, we put those first 500 names in the mail...

Humanist Marriage petition FAQ

Last week we launched a petition calling on BC’s new Minister of Health to allow Humanists to perform marriages. Since then we’ve spoken with SpiceFM, CBC, Early Edition and CKNW and had nearly 500 people sign the petition. In those conversations, and over social media, we’ve fielded a number of questions about our petition. While...

Humanist marriage report published

While Buddhists, Wiccans, Unitarians and even Scientologists can perform marriages in British Columbia, Humanists and other atheists are being discriminated against by the province's arbitrary implementation of the Marriage Act, according to a new report by the BC Humanist Association. The Case for Humanist Marriage in BC sets out the current laws governing...

Announcing the first BCHA Humanist Officiant Training seminar

The BC Humanist Association will be holding its first Humanist Officiant Training session on Saturday May 7, 2016 for potential Humanist celebrants. Part of the mission of the BCHA is to offer and provide meaningful ceremonies at significant times such as marriage and death. Elsewhere in Canada and around the world,...

Why the BC Marriage Act must change

About 20 years ago, I obtained a ministry in the Universal Life Church, a somewhat infamous church in Modesto, California that issues ministries to anyone for the asking, with the most minimal possible ethical guideline of “do what is right.” Though accompanied by a good deal of incoherent, mystical, vaguely...

Humanist marriage rejected by BC Government

An application to perform Humanist weddings has been denied by the BC Government after nearly a year of uncertainty around the BC Humanist Association’s new Humanist Officiant Program.



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